NH Politics

Todd Bookman/NHPR

A New Hampshire House Committee is recommending against passage of Right-to- Work legislation, which would prohibit unions from forcing non-union members to pay fees to cover the cost of collective bargaining.

Members of the House Labor Committee voted 14-7, with many Republicans joining Democrats in opposition to the often partisan issue.

The bill next heads to the full House, which will take up the measure next week.

Hundreds of opponents filled Representatives Hall in Concord Wednesday, many wearing red t-shirts, to voice their concerns to lawmakers.

NHPR Staff

Governor Chris Sununu delivers his budget proposal to lawmakers this week. It’s the first step in a months-long journey to build a two-year spending plan that will affect nearly every aspect of life in New Hampshire.

To help you prepare for the months of headlines to come, NHPR reporters are highlighting areas of the budget that are likely to generate the most discussion.

 

No one has ever called crafting a state budget easy. There are thousands of decisions and myriad competing interests. And for a new governor, there is also the crunch of getting it all done and printed a mere six weeks after taking office.

But if Gov. Chris Sununu is at all anxious about his final product, he isn’t showing it.

Who Should Have Access To Medical Marijuana?

Feb 8, 2017
Pixabay.com

Several bills in the New Hampshire legislature would extend the list of qualifying conditions for therapeutic cannabis, including chronic pain and PTSD. But a new report from the National Academy of Sciences finds that "cannabis has both therapeutic value and public health risks."


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers face a stack of bills this week ranging election law, drug policy and child protection policies.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

It's a rite of passage in New Hampshire -- every year, hundreds of fourth graders make a pilgrimage to Concord for a State House tour. In this audio postcard, students from Woodland Heights Elementary School in Laconia learn the basics of law making -- and how to make their voices heard.

Scroll down for a 360 degree photo of the students in the N.H. Senate chamber.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

At the New Hampshire State House, lawmakers don’t limit debate to bills and the budget. Control of square footage in the building itself can be as controversial as any partisan policy. I took a tour with a man who has a set of keys to the shared rental.

NHPR/Hannah McCarthy

A proposal to establish a paid family and medical leave insurance program had its first hearing Wednesday at the State House. The idea has been in the works for a while, but some advocates think New Hampshire is finally primed for the idea.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The New Hampshire House meets Thursday to vote on bills ranging from education policy to a proposal to possibly change the state’s time zone.

School Choice in the Granite State

Jan 31, 2017
NHPR

At the local and national level, the movement to give families more options outside of their local district gains traction. In New Hampshire, several proposed bills would provide more funds and greater access to charter schools and other forms of education. But some worry these efforts will harm public school districts and rural counties.  


Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A bill that would close a loophole that lets business owners make multiple campaign contributions to a single candidate will be up for debate Tuesday at the Statehouse.

Sara Plourde / New England News Collaborative, NHPR

While Republican governors in Massachusetts and Vermont expressed concern over the weekend about President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration and refugees, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu took a more neutral stance when weighing in on the issue Monday.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

The job of New Hampshire lawmaker isn’t terribly rewarding—at least if you’re talking about sheer salary. A spot in the state Legislature offers annual compensation of just $100, one of the lowest in the nation.

But though they don’t earn much in their Statehouse paychecks, some lawmakers regularly bring home extra cash just driving to and from Concord.

Michael Brindley for NHPR

It’s been a busy year for Frank Edelblut. First, he rose from political unknown to near-upset in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Now, he’s poised to become the state’s next education commissioner. 

Edelblut’s background and philosophy would mark a significant break from his recent predecessors in that job.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

New Hampshire Lawmakers filed into the State House cafeteria Thursday for some free international food. Like it or not, their meal came with a side of conversation -- about how immigrants benefit New Hampshire.

Courtesy photo

  Former state Senator Jeanie Forrester is poised to become the next chair of the state Republican Party.

The Meredith Republican is the only candidate running to replace outgoing chair Jennifer Horn at Saturday’s annual party meeting in Derry.

Forrester is a three-term state Senator and also ran for governor last year. She spoke to NHPR’s Morning Edition heading into this weekend’s vote.

Parents, doctors and child advocacy groups are urging New Hampshire lawmakers to support paid family and medical leave and help reduce the costs of child care.

Supporters of the Campaign for a Family Friendly Economy lobbied representatives Thursday on two bills. One would establish a family and medical leave insurance fund allowing for up to 12 weeks of paid leave. The other would add $15 million to the state budget to help families pay for child care.

Railroad Crossing
Photo by Tim Cummins via Flickr Creative Commons

Should lawmakers dissolve the unfunded, volunteer-run New Hampshire Rail Transit Authority? That was the question at a House Transportation Committee public hearing Wednesday. 

Last spring, lawmakers voted not to pursue preliminary steps to connect rail line from Boston to southern NH. Now, Republican House member Neal Kurk of Weare told the House Transportation Committee  he wants to eradicate the unfunded group of volunteers tasked by lawmakers with overseeing rail development in New Hampshire.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A Windham lawmaker is hoping to rewrite New Hampshire's election laws in an effort to prevent what he calls potential voter fraud.

One of his proposals received some pushback Wednesday particularly from those who would have to abide by one specific change to current law.  

The new women's prison in Concord was slated to open more than a year ago, but cost overruns turned the $38 million dollars project into a $50 million dollar one and pushed back its opening date by a year.

www.concordchristian.org

A school choice program that allows businesses to make tax write offs for donating to education scholarships had a banner year in 2016.

The program received $385,662 in donations last year, according to an annual report filed with the state’s Department of Revenue Administration. That’s a 77 percent increase from the $217,199 in donations the program saw in 2015.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

The sponsors of a bill requiring corroboration for sexual assault cases in New Hampshire have pulled their support for the proposal.

Duncan Hull via Flickr CC

Some New Hampshire lawmakers are proposing that the state secede from the populous Eastern Time Zone and join in with Nova Scotia and Puerto Rico on the Atlantic time zone, dropping daylight saving time.

Opponents of daylight saving time argue that traffic accidents, heart attacks and strokes increase when we change time.

New England states have considered similar bills before, but they haven't passed.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers will tackle an array of issues this week, from barring firearms at polling places to establishing a state minimum wage.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers this week will hear about a report released last month which shed a bad light on the state’s child protective services. 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

In one of his very first acts in office, Governor Chris Sununu called for a 90-day moratorium on new state regulations. But lawmakers who oversee New Hampshire's regulatory process said the new governor Friday: no can do. 

Allegra Boverman / NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate has narrowly approved a bill to limit the power of unions to charge non-members for representation.

Related: Click here to see a New Hampshire Right-to-Work explainer 

 

The debate of right-to-work was a essentials a formality in the GOP-controlled senate, but lawmakers still took two hours to air long-familiar arguments about what the law would mean for NH.

 

Weekly N.H. News Roundup: January 20, 2017

Jan 19, 2017

Governor Sununu picks a former rival to head the education department, and orders restrictions on state hiring.  First District Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration, going to a religious service instead. And new numbers show the state's unemployment rate at just 2.6 percent. 

GUESTS:

The Women's March on Washington

Jan 19, 2017
Flickr

The day after Donald Trump's inauguration, hundreds of thousands of women are expected to protest in the Capitol and in cities around the country, including New Hampshire.  But about forty percent of female voters chose Trump, and so more widespread unity may be an elusive cause. 


Governor Chris Sununu has nominated former political rival Frank Edelblut as commissioner of the state Department of Education.

The announcement was a brief, unceremonious item on the Executive Council’s agenda Wednesday morning as Governor Chris Sununu read off a list of nominations.

“For the Commissioner of the state of the New Hampshire Department of Education I nominate Frank Edelblut of Wilton New Hampshire.”

But the choice signals a big shift in priorities for the state agency.

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